Friday, December 28, 2012

BÜZE Magazine: Celebrate the coming New Year by downloading this new independent tablet-only magazine

Just sneaking into the App Store before Apple shut down iTunes Connect, Buze Magazine is a new tablet-only magazine from the Toronto publishing team of Vaughn Joseph and Cary Hyodo. Created using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the magazine is scheduled to be published inside the Newsstand six times a year.

"Büze Magazine focuses on the global craft beer, artisanal spirits, mixology and foodie movements which when combined, create an enhanced drinks lifestyle – a lifestyle that embraces natural, organic and eco-friendly while producing a dizzying array of amazing drinks to accompany our most memorable moments," the app announcement states.

The new tablet magazine contains just one issue at this time, the premiere issue, which weighs in at just over 600 MB (pretty typical of a digital magazine made with the Adobe DPS).

Designed and edited by Cary Hyodo in InDesign, the magazine is meant to be read in portrait orientation, and, of course, features layouts and typography specifically designed for the iPad.
Hyodo, who says be comes from the print side of the publishing business – "to tell you the truth, I'm kind of old school" he told me – had previously worked on a magazine with roughly the same editorial subject, but that magazine has become more B2B, while the vision for Buze Magazine is to be an international drinks magazine, thanks to distribution through the Newsstand. The publishing team also plans an edition that can be read through the Kindle Fire.

The new app features a preview that can be downloaded for free to give the reader an idea of what to expect. Single editions are priced at $3.99, while an annual subscription costs $19.99.

Hyodo says that his partner in the venture, Vaughn Joseph, was the catalyst for launching a tablet magazine. "To be honest with you," Hyodo told me today, "he talked me into this."

"When I started I had not a lot of knowledge of what a truly digital magazine was. I had seen a few digital entries into the field, and most of them I had seen were basically just print magazines with the funky page turning function," Hyodo said.

"But when my partner showed me the true breadth... and what was possible with the fully interactive magazine I was kind of hooked."

Because of the publisher's background in the traditional magazine industry, the start-up tablet magazine is avoiding a lot of the mistakes made by newbies. Buze Magazine, for instance, already has a nicely designed website which can support the digital magazine's marketing. A press release has been issued (today, as a matter of fact), and there is already a full 2013 media kit available, complete with rates and specs.

"BÜZE Magazine will be attractively priced and sold through the iTunes Store/ Newsstand," the media kit proclaims. "The same place you would find the digital GQ or Wired Magazines. As such, our reach is not limited by the cost and imperfections of CMYK printing and we totally bypass the messy carbon footprinting of tree destruction and truck deliveries. The subject is international in scope, and our reach is global. BÜZE Magazine is an idea whose time has arrived."

"We're just a tap away."

The first issue of Buze Magazine contains advertising, just as you would expect of any commercial publications, Hyodo made sure of that.

A common mistake made by new tablet magazine not originating from a team of print publishers, is the lack of advertising-centric thinking seen in the first issues. As any print publisher with launch experience will tell you, you have to think advertising from Day One. Launch issues are usually seen as the main promotional piece in future sales pitches, so they not only need to contain advertising, but also need to be able to showcase for advertisers exactly who should be spending there ad dollars in future issues.

(When my very first magazine start-up, a construction magazine for McGraw-Hill, was about to go to press I looked at the galleys and felt like something was missing. So I called John Deere and offered them a two-page spread to open the book. It didn't add a dime of revenue to that issue, but it made the new launch look like a well-established magazine, one that an advertiser would want to be seen in.)

Of course, how do you price a new tablet magazine?

With a B2B print title you know exactly how many copies you plan on distributing, with a consumer title you state a rate base. But with a digital magazine the publisher has to base the rates on the number of downloads, or paid subscriptions sold. Until then you just guess, something Hyodo understands as he laughingly pointed me to the small type under the rates in the Buze Magazine media kit: "prices subject to change without notice."

Hopefully Hyodo will have to raise those rates because of the success of the magazine in the Newsstand.

Here is a video walk-through the first issue of Buze Magazine. You'll notice that there are several dissolves used in order to skip through the issue a bit, which offers lots of interesting content – this is one magazine that will remain in my Newsstand.

The app itself does not contain video and audio, where there is to be accessed through links to other sites. Because of this I added some music to the video, and knowing my tastes you might consider turning down the volume.

One other point, while the app slipped into the App Store just ahead of the Christmas holiday, the fact that iTunes Connect is shut down until next week means the publishers will not know how the app is doing until the New Year. Adding to this is the fact that the app will be hard to find in the U.S. App Store due to the redesign. I found the app by accessing the Canadian App Store where it was sitting there at the top of the new releases.